THE BAR EXAMS IN MY DREAMS
Last night I had a dream, and it was disturbing. Good it was only a dream. The day before, I was so surprised that a protégé, one whose work I really appreciate and admire, one whose work I could easily compare and see similarities with the works and style of writing of judges, one with a depth of mind and exuding with analytical ideas , would not pass the Bar exams!
Well, there are historical precedents that things happen. Shit happens as the saying goes. The late Senator Claro M. Recto flunked his first Bar exam; but he topped it in the succeeding year. The late Senator Jose W. Diokno never had a formal schooling in Law but after he was permitted to take the Bar, he topped it. Opinion writer Ramon Tulfo in his column (Inquirer, September 4, 2013) wrote that former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez also flunked the Bar but was admitted after passing the next year. The former Ombudsman was also a former Justice Undersecretary, one of the most amiable and cordial, who later became Officer in Charge of the Department of Justice before she was appointed as Ombudsman. According to Tulfo, Gutierrez’s classmate in Ateneo, former first gentleman Mike Arroyo also flunked but later passed the Bar. Arroyo, had it not for his relation to the former President, would have been a success story in the business world.
Previously, the High Court issued a circular on the so called “Five Year Strike Rule.” This meant that a successive failure to pass the Bar exams five times would render any applicant for the Bar to be disqualified in taking another chance thereafter. However, according to the Supreme Court, this rule would be lifted to favor those who wanted to take a chance to be a barrister later.
Going back to my dream, I saw myself struggling with fellow classmates reviewing for the Bar. Actually, I finished my legal education but my job as prison official never afforded me time to review, much more so, any time to take the Bar. In three successive years when I was supposed to take my leave for the Bar, prison administration would assign me to various penal establishments one after another. I dropped the idea of taking the Bar all throughout. It was only in my dream that I would pursue it.
There I was haggling with my peers until someone from my circle would approach me to join a Fraternity. For me it was just a waste of time, it was just a juvenile antic, an expensive proposition, an adolescent plaything. But there was another reason: to pass the Bar exams! My peers were intrigued. They convinced me that the Fraternity had influential and well-connected members in the political and corporate world. Fraternities are like gangs, when they need something, they just get it, nothing in between, not even laws or arms are obstacles to hurdle. They have the muscle and they can have anything they want. Fraternities like mafia are sworn to “omerta” and operate almost the same. To be a member therefore is a key to success.
The leader of the Fraternity convened my peers and explained that the legal profession is an exclusive club. It has its own language taught formally in school. The same can be said as far as the manner, projection and even in the way it would relate to the courts of law. No one can breach the bar in court unless one is a member. That is how exclusive, how elite the legal profession is. And only a favored few can get through it and more, to be high up in the ladder of the profession, one must pass and be a placer. The Fraternity will see to it that its members get through sweetly amidst difficulties and with flying color.
Of course, passing the Bar requires years of study, of burning the midnight oil so to speak. Another course would be to join the Frat, join a study circle, be initiated with life on the brink and one is just lucky after the final rites, if he is not physically burned.
My fellow reviewees were all convinced. They got materials for review; some swore it was easy to review if they already know the questions. Beaten black and blue and sworn to be slaves, they had the advantage even of attaining whatever they wished for as far as placement in the hierarchy among those who would pass it. I was not there with them because in my dreams I was nowhere.
Came the bar exams and they pass it. I was nowhere too in the list because in my dreams I was somewhere watching everything and had never done anything at all. When I woke up, I was in a state of stupor and hunger. I realized then that I slept without having my dinner.
I checked my cellphone and a text message appears, “ANY INSTRUCTION, GRANDMASTER?”